What do Frogs Look Like?

I love to go looking for frogs in the wild and sometimes it can be very surprising to discover what they look like! For example, I recently found a Spring Peeper and was not expecting how tiny they are. But before diving into specifics, here is a general rule as to what frogs look like.

A frog is a cold-blooded vertebrate amphibian with bulging eyes, a long sticky tongue, no neck, short front legs, and long back legs for jumping, a body that is generally green or olive and has no tail.

But there are many exceptions to this general rule. Some frogs are very different from what you would expect to see. Let’s dive further into what some frogs look like more specifically, and compare them to toads as well.

What Frogs Look Like

Frogs are funny and fun-looking animals. Firstly, they have naturally bulging eyes. Other than some monkeys and fish, this is pretty rare in nature so it is a cool frog feature. 

Frogs also have long sticky tongues to wrap up their prey and swallow it whole and alive. Some other lizards do that but overall this is pretty rare in nature.

Frogs have long springy back legs to help propel them and jump away from predators. Other than kangaroos, bunnies, and grasshoppers, not many animals predominantly jump to get around.

Frogs are generally green but can also be a variety of other colors including olive, brown, russet, mustard, yellow, blue, red, and orange. Here are examples of what some species of frogs look like:

Frog SpeciesGeneral ColorCharacteristics
American Green Tree FrogsBrown, GreenPadded Toes
Poison Dart FrogsYellow, Red, BluePoisonous
BullfrogsGreen, YellowLarge Frogs
Horned FrogsGreen, Brown, RussetPointed Ridges Above Eyes

If you just found or saw a frog and want to know what it is, check out our frog identification chart.

What Tree Frogs Look Like

Tree frogs can be found worldwide and have pads on their toes to stick to bark, branches, and leaves. Tree frogs are generally smaller animals with the agile ability to live in trees, on leaves, or near the base of trees.

Some treefrogs include Spring Peepers, American Green Tree Frogs, European Tree Frogs, Australian Green Tree Frogs, and Red-Eyed Tree Frogs.

What Poison Dart Frogs Look Like

Poison dart frogs are small and very colorful frogs that are native to South America. They range in color from green to yellow, blue, red, black, orange, and gold, and can be solid, striped or spotted. There are about 200 species of poison dart frogs. 

Poison dart frogs are colorful to show their predators they are not to be eaten. Because of this, they only have one predator which is a snake that has developed a resistance to their poison and can eat them with no consequences.

Learn more about frog colors in this article on our blog (find out if pink or purple frogs exist!)

What Bullfrogs Frogs Look Like

As a general rule, bullfrogs are green with yellow belies and they are very large. They have a predominant tympanum for hearing and have spotted or striped legs. African Bullfrogs have ridges on their bodies whereas American bullfrogs are generally smooth.

American Bullfrogs are commonly found in North America in large marshes, bogs, and ponds that have active wildlife the frogs can eat. They especially like mice, large spiders, small turtles, and small snakes. Bullfrogs can be ferocious predators and eat just about anything they can fit into their mouths.

Learn more about what a tympanum is in this post on our blog.

What Horned Frogs Look Like

Horned Frogs can be found in Asia and South America and have the distinct characteristic of short or long and pointy ridges stemming above their eyes to form what looks like horns. 

South American horned frogs are known as Pacman Frogs because of their large round mouths that look like the video game character Pac-Man.

What Frogs Look Like Compared to Toads

After learning what a frog looks like, you may still be wondering how they compare to toads. Well, toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads. Here is a table that covers some key differences between frogs and toads:

FrogsToads
EggsClustersStrings
SkinGenerally SmoothWarty
LegsLongShort
ParotoidNoYes

Learn more about the different types of frogs including aquatic, arboreal and terrestrial frogs in this article on our blog.

Frog Eggs vs Toad Eggs

As a general rule, frogs lay eggs in clusters whereas toads lay eggs in strings. The eggs transform into tadpoles and frog tadpoles generally have gold speckles in them, whereas toad tadpoles are a solid dark shade. Once they become froglets or toadlets, frogs will remain near or in water, whereas toads live on land.

Frog Skin vs Toad Skin

Frogs generally have smooth skin that can be a solid color, spotted or striped. Frogs are often shades of green, olive, brown, or russet. Whereas toads have very warty skin that is generally tones of brown and russet.

Frog Legs vs Toad Legs

Frogs have long legs for jumping and often have webbed toes for swimming. Whereas toads have short legs for crawling and often do not have webbed feet. Toads cannot climb very high, whereas tree frogs have padded toes made for climbing. But toads legs and toes help them be excellent at digging.

Frogs vs Toad Parotid 

Toads have a large Parotid gland on their backs behind their eyes. These glands secrete poison to scare, harm, or kill predators. Frogs do not have a Parotid gland, and this is one distinctive feature that differentiates toads from frogs.

Learn more about the differences between toads and frogs in this dedicated article on our blog.

Common Frog Questions

Which Animal can Jump Farther a Frog or a Toad?

Frogs can jump 10 feet, but kangaroos can jump much further at 25 feet in a single leap. Toads are not made for jumping and prefer crawling so a rabbit that can jump 9 feet can jump much further than most toads.

What are Similarities and Differences Between Frogs and Toads?

Frogs and toads are both amphibians and Anura, and all toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads. Frogs generally have moist, smooth skin and live near water, whereas toads have dry, warty skin and live on land. Toads have parotid glands on their backs behind their eyes, whereas frogs do not.

How do I Identify a Toad?

In order to identify a toad, look to see if it looks like a frog with shorter legs if you found the animal on land if it has dry warty skin, and a parotid gland on its back behind its eye. If it does not jump far and has these features, it is probably a toad.


Use our toad identification chart to identify toads!

Sources

Fun Frog Activy – Frog Jump

National Geographic: Kangaroo Jump